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What's Making Us Happy: A guide to your weekend viewing, listening and reading

Laurence Basse in the "Project Redemption!" episode of <em>Project Runway All Stars.</em>
Zach Dilgard
/
Bravo
Laurence Basse in the "Project Redemption!" episode of Project Runway All Stars.

This week actors joined writers on strike. Black Mirror scored another point for its prescience. And a hotly anticipated premiere experienced some high-profile walkouts.

Here's what the NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Flyana Boss

Flyana Boss is a duo of two young women — Folayan and Bobbi. They met in music school, apparently, and became best friends. And you can absolutely tell from the music that they make that they are in sync. They started filming these lyric videos for one verse of the song "You Wish," where they are just running while mouthing the lyrics. It's very simple, but since then it's turned into a whole thing where they're having their fans tell them where to go running next — so they've run at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Disneyland, a grocery store, a gym, a McDonald's. Shoutout to their videographer, Evan Blum, who — I don't know how he's doing this — but he's running with them the whole time. — Aisha Harris

The latest season of Project Runway All Stars

Project Runwayhas had several seasons of all stars that they did as kind of a separate spin-off show — different host, different stuff, different mentor. But now they're doing a regular Project Runway season that involves bringing back a lot of people going all the way back to the first season. It got interestingly tense in the most recent one that I watched. People are all older now and they kind of know how these things work and they get more frustrated when they start to go down a path of feeling like something is just nonsense. I mean, this show has now been on for so long — almost 20 years. It has motivated me to go back and watch some old seasons of Project Runway, all of which, by the way, are now available on Peacock. — Linda Holmes

New nonfiction about queer representation and media

If you are one of many folks out there who are anxious and angry about the recent wave of anti-queer legislation sweeping the country right now, let me recommend a bunch of books that have come out just in the last couple of months that speak directly to the power of representation, queer representation in media. There is, of course, friend of the show Tre'vell Anderson's We See Each Other: A Black, Trans Journey Through TV and Film.There's Kyle Turner's The Queer Film Guidethat walks you through 100 films in the international queer canon in a very smart, lively and really insightful way. There's Manuel Betancourt's The Male Gazed which is a series of really searching and personal essays about pop culture's role in queer desire. And finally, there's Hi Honey, I'm Homo!, a great title by Matt Baume — it's about how something as rigid and formulaic as the American sitcom can still find room to speak to queerness — sometimes in very coded ways. So, you know, in this current cultural landscape, it is just nice to be reminded that we are part of the culture — we always have been and we always will be. — Glen Weldon

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

I am delighted to report that there is another season of the game show Is It Cake? available on Netflix, and it remains one of the silliest and most relaxing things you can do with your evening, your lazy afternoon, or your procrastination time.

Our dear pal Sam Sanders and his co-hosts Saeed Jones and Zach Stafford delivered a beautiful episode of their podcast Vibe Check this week, in which they talked about grief and the death of Sam's mother. Do check it out.

I'm not sure any one thing you could read will explain the origins of the current WGA and SAG strikes better than this piece in The New Yorker about who did and emphatically did not make money on the success of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black.


Beth Noveyadapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" for the Web. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Aisha Harris
Aisha Harris is a host of Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Linda Holmes
Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.
Glen Weldon
Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
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